Or “Please Stop Forgetting About Lolitas Who Aren’t Cisgender”
There have been quite a few Tumblr posts lately, I’ve found, arguing on whether or not a term like “Brolita” is needed in the Lolita community. And I’m going to say yes. Y-E-S. All caps. Bold underline italicize. Yes.
When people use the term “Brolita”, what often comes to mind, apparently, is a cisgendered male setting himself apart from other Lolitas and trying to “hold onto a shred of masculinity”. Many Lolitas think the term is unnecessary, that it’s reinforcing the patriarchy, that it defeats some of what the fashion is trying to accomplish. However, while I’m not sure exactly how or why the term came to be, I cannot emphasize enough that the term at its core is not anti-feminist, when used correctly, and that it is indeed vital to keeping the fashion inclusive.
It’s a fact often stated that Lolita fashion is for everyone and anyone, no matter your age, size, gender, or otherwise. What is often forgotten, though, is that there are many Lolitas that aren’t cisgender. It is important to remember that just like there are cis female and male Lolitas, there are also genderfluid, agender, transgender, and all other sorts of Lolitas that do indeed exist and want to be included.
Being misgendered totally sucks, especially when you’re trying so hard to “pass”. No one wants to be misgendered or misidentified, especially in Lolita fashion where the overabundance of frills can sometimes make using the right pronouns at meetups rather confusing. In a fashion as definitively feminine as Lolita, gendered terms like Brolita tend to be helpful in this regard. If you’re a cis man or a trans man, you’re a Brolita. If you’re a cis woman or trans woman, you’re a Lolita*. Using such a term helps keep things simple.
(At a meetup and not sure which term or pronouns to use? Just ask! Politely asking someone which pronouns they prefer is a considerate thing to do, and more people should do it! It’s certainly better than misgendering someone on accident!)
Bottom Line: The term Brolita isn’t a stamp of patriarchy-reinforcing masculinity in a community filled to the brim with frills; it’s an identifier, used to end confusion between cis men/trans men Lolitas and cis women/trans women Lolitas, and using it— or a term similar to it**— is generally a good idea.
* - Is there a term for nonbinary Lolitas? Not yet. Should there be? Maybe! I’m a dfab genderfluid Lolita, so I just use the term “Lolita” to identify myself. I may post more on the subject of nonbinary Lolita terminology later, but this post was meant to contain my thoughts on the “Brolita” term alone.
** - Some Brolitas actually don’t care for the term, instead using “B-Lolita” or simply “boy Lolita”. Brolita seems to be the most widely-used term, though, so it’s what I used here.
I hope this came out even halfway coherently, and that it helps solve at least some of the confusion surrounding the term.
Lolita fashion really is for everyone! Let’s keep it inclusive!